(Case Study)





Released from prison in August 2021




Nikita would like contact with her daughter Hannah


We were introduced to Nikita two weeks before her release in August 2021. Hannah lives with her father, Jason, and she has not had any contact with her mother since 2016. Whilst in prison, Nikita was diagnosed with autism, and she participated in a support plan to help her come to terms with the diagnosis. Nikita has worked hard to heal and learn from her past actions in her one-to-one counselling sessions whilst living in a specialised health wing in prison. Since leaving prison Nikita has enjoyed tremendous personal growth, and she currently lives on her own and has a strong family network that supports her.


We initially wrote to Jason to inform him of Nikita’s imminent release and that she wanted to reintroduce contact with Hannah. Jason was apprehensive about this and requested highly confidential reports on Nikita’s mental wellbeing. After trying to advocate on Nikita’s behalf for an agreement, it was clear that an application to the Court was necessary. During the proceedings, the local authority produced a report noting that Nikita was focused on her daughter’s needs but did not recommend any contact between her and Hannah. We notified the local authority of evidence that they had not considered and supported Nikita’s argument that contact would be beneficial both to her and Hannah. To begin with, Nikita asked for letterbox contact and updates from Jason, as there had been no contact for four years, and she did not want to overwhelm Hannah. She would like to progress contact to video calls and eventually direct contact, which we will help her with.

We have attended four hearings with Nikita. We expected the Final Hearing in November 2021 to be an uphill battle because of the local authority report. Despite this, we made a legal argument regarding the flaws in the Report, resulting in a further hearing. The Court also ordered that a Guardian would be instructed to represent Hannah’s voice and true thoughts during legal proceedings. Further, Jason is to send Nikita periodical updates about Hannah’s welfare and schooling, including photographs.

The Outcome

Without Not Beyond Redemption, it is likely that the hearing on 12 November 2021 would have proceeded as a Final Hearing and the recommendation of no contact adhered to. We are confident that with all of Nikita’s hard work and self-improvement the Court will allow her to continue to progress her contact and develop her relationship in a safe and stable way. Another hearing has been listed for August 2022 and we wait to hear its outcome.